Very rare—possibly even unprecedented—is the occasion that Argentine legend Diego Maradona is cast as the voice of reason.
But at a press conference in Dubai yesterday, he played the role surprisingly well when asked about Pelé’s recent comments that Lionel Messi is not as good as Brazilian wünderkind Neymar. His response:
“Maybe Neymar is the best player of the world, but only if we clarify that Messi is from another planet.”
If you’re scoring at home, that’s Maradona 1, Pelé 0.
H/T to the RefBaiter.
The first one, from the Belgian league, is completely filthy. Stankovic’s 60-yard one-timer is not too shabby, either, and Dos Santos’s perfectly placed chip against the U.S. (after tormenting Tim Howard in a game of keep-away) is just painful to watch.
Here they are, the finalists for the 2011 FIFA Puskas Award, named after Hungarian legend Ferenc Puskas and given to the sickest strike of the year in world football:
As jaw-dropping as they all are (and Wayne Rooney’s bike, not included in the clip, was nominated as well), none of them surpasses Neymar’s run and finish.
Lost in the massive shadow of Lionel Messi’s five-goal turn in the Champions League yesterday was this stunner of a goal from Neymar in the Copa Libertadores:
Go ahead, watch it again. What is that, an 80-yard solo run? Past four defenders (with a fifth shading over) and the goalkeeper?
Neymar just turned 20 this past month. How much longer before he jumps from Santos to a big European club?
We’re pretty sure the maneuver Neymar puts on the last defender here is unprecedented in the annals of spectacular soccer goals, but take a look and judge for yourself:
Combined with the magic he uses to scorch the two opponents on the sideline at the start of the sequence, the finishing flourish makes this an instant icon in the history of great goals. And Neymar is 19 years old, just for the record.
The top commenters on the YouTube clip of the goal may have said it best:
“What in the actual fuck was that”
“It’s times like this I remember he’s 19, and I’m here on my computer getting fat.”
But here’s the kicker: Neymar’s goal put Santos up 3-0 on Flamenco, but Flamenco, spurred by a hat-trick from Ronaldinho, came charging back, tied the game up before halftime, and eventually won, 5-4.
H/T’s to the Carolina Cannon and Seeling the Deal.